After several years of development, it appears a redesigned AirTV Player is nearly here. Originally conceived as an over-the-air network tuner, like Tablo, to stream local antenna television into Sling TV’s user interface, AirTV appears to have been rethought… and nears arrival as an Android-powered, Technicolor-produced set-top box vs reusing Echostar’s Slingbox scraps, Oh, this rendition still channels live television. But that local programming is now output directly into a TV, presumably merged within Sling’s guide, along with over-the-top streaming applications — specifically Netflix (!) and the Play Store itself…. based on support documents and the bundled universal, voice-capable Bluetooth remote that sports a Google logo.

Get the live channels you love and the shows you can’t miss. Watch Sling TV on AirTV Player, and enjoy live sports, shows, and movies with the simplicity of an app. With the AirTV Player, cut the cord and keep the TV experience. You’ll have a single platform for watching Sling TV, Netflix, local channels, and more.

AirTV combines all your live programming with Sling TV and your favorites on Netflix. When you launch your player, you will land in the screen. This screen allows you to customize your favorite channels on Sling TV and launch your favorite Netflix shows and movies

Merging over-the-air and online video into a single interface is pretty compelling stuff… which Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku cannot do (without assistance). So I’m quite interested to see exactly where Sling lands, especially since it’s not clear if this redesign retains risky (for Sling) out-of-home OTA streaming. The wait probably won’t be long given a newly launched support page and an FCC waiver —  a CES announcement next month seems likely, if we don’t hear something sooner.

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The fine folks at Sideclick have provided two Roku accessories to share with our audience.

As a refresher, Sideclick clips onto your streamer’s remote to provide additional control — think televisions, soundbars, and the like. Beyond Roku, they also offer interchangeable sleds for Fire TV, Apple TV, and the couple dozen Nexus Players out there. It may be a tough sell at its price point, in relation to a streamer’s cost, and it will obviously impact your ergonomics. However, bolting on a simple, effective learning remote, will absolutely be priceless for a significant percent of us … and I’ve been enjoying Sideclick’s capabilities in our bedroom the last few months (especially since Roku’s HDMI-CEC functionality doesn’t actually work in all cases).

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Hulu, the best DVR-replacing streaming service ups their game this month, with the addition of user profiles and 4K streaming.

As you might expect at launch, 4K streaming is restricted to a limited number of titles (originals, Bond films) and platforms (Xbox One S, PS4 Pro). However, unexpectedly, there’s no additional fee for the increased visual clarity — as opposed to Netflix’s UHD tier. Also unexpectedly, there remains no confirmation that Hulu provides 5.1 surround sound.

On the profile front, Engadet indicates the feature is rolling out in phases, beginning with a limited number of customers accessing Hulu via web site. As to capabilities,

When a viewer creates a profile, they will be taken through a taste picking experience where they will be able to tell us the types of shows and movies they like, and the types of shows and movies they don’t like. This will help us ensure that each profile surfaces recommendations and content that is distinctly personal to each viewer. Each individual profile will have its own name, personal info, viewing history, recommendations and Watchlist. There will also be a new Kids profile type, which will allow our young viewers to browse content within the Kids Hub freely, without having to worry about running into mature content.

Vevo Music Videos Land On TiVo

Dave Zatz —  December 11, 2016 — 10 Comments

Many years after the Music Choice app was retired from TiVo retail boxes, Vevo has finally arrived to meet that acoustic demand. I’ve long been a fan of Vevo as the modern day equivalent of MTV (the one that played music videos). So this represents a meaningful app addition — despite prior silliness involving some sort of TiVo C&D once sent Vevo’s way, due to not-really brand name similarities, and a number of MIA tent pole OTA cord cutting apps, such as Sling TV and HBO NOW.

As that’s my Roamio photographed above, I assume Roamio, Bolt, and TiVo Mini models will all receive access. Although given the radio silence from TiVo and Vevo along with my Minis not currently having access, I also assume someone flipped the switch a little early. Oops? Let us know which platforms you see Vevo on, give it a go, and tell us what you think. Tip: Upon opening the app, you’ll be prompted to activate it from a registered Vevo account:

http://www.vevo.com/activate/tivo

Win An Intel-Powered Laptop!

Dave Zatz —  December 9, 2016

TL;DR Watch the following sponsored video for the opportunity to win a brand-spanking-new Intel-powered laptop for you and a friend.

‘Tis the season… to cash in on some amazing technological values. And I’ve been on the lookout for an economical “gaming” laptop, like this $699 HP Pavillion at Walmart, to upgrade my wife’s aging rig. She’s pretty much the furthest thing from a gamer. Yet, I’ve learned these designations represent tricked out hardware with additional memory, higher-end video cards and processors (6th gen Core i7, in this case). I briefly contemplated a flippy hybrid laptop/tablet, like this Dell Inspiron 2-in-1, which seems to be all the rage, but we’re old and set in our ways.

Of course, “free” is even better than “economical” and Intel will once again gift laptops upon one worthy individual, as last year’s winner describes in the video. While I’m not entering the contest and don’t have the most inspiring story to share, my wife has run our household and her business exclusively from several generations of Windows laptops. And she’s due for an upgrade — modern specs and a touchscreen will absolutely increase her productivity and, just as importantly, her day-to-day comfort.

I suspect most of you know someone in your lives with even more compelling stories. By nominating them to win a PC powered by Intel at the conclusion of the video, you, too, will also pick up a computer should your 300 word narrative be selected.

Intel Influencer Program sponsored post in partnership with Mirum. You best believe all opinions are my own.

ooma-door-sensor

Ooma, the long-time independent and quite stellar VoIP service provider, is finally poised to expand beyond its core telephonic capabilities… as foreshadowed by the legendary Rich Buchanan way back in 2009:

Ooma won’t say exactly what complementary products it will introduce, but Buchanan will speak in general terms. “We will have applications that fall into three basic categories: network management, home automation, and data management,” he says.

Given that Ooma is simply a Linux-based hub, why not? And now, as revealed by the FCC, we learn the company intends to introduce window/door and water detection sensors managed via an incoming Ooma Home Monitoring app. Due to power and range considerations (and the FCC filing itself), Ooma wouldn’t leverage WiFi or even low-energy Bluetooth for these applications. However, as opposed to their Zigbee and Z-wave contemporaries like Smartthings, Ooma is going with generally phone-centric DECT for communication.

I wonder what other goodies and integrations they have on the docket… and expect all will be revealed next month at CES.

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tivo-bolt-cloud-dvr

Due to a number of fortuitous leaks, we know TiVo is pursuing cloud recording capabilities for retail devices. However, whereas the functionality seemed specific to upcoming Tablo-fighting Mavrik hardware, a Bolt owner inadvertently received the notification above — suggesting testing is underway. It remains to be seen how much such a service might run and if offloading cable television programming will be permissible, versus over-the-air content. However, with Bolt presumably now on the docket, it’s safe to assume Roamio would be entitled to similar capabilities… whenever TiVo gets around to deployment.

chromecast

Google Chromecast ($25, three months of HBO NOW)
Chromecast isn’t my thing. But I’m old and require a physical remote. However, this is a good deal on a generally practical solution to get app content onto a television, controlled by smartphone. Considering HBO NOW runs $15 a month and you get three free, this is a pretty stellar deal.

cons-hkl12-sonos-play1

Sonos Play:1 ($150, includes 3-months of Apple Music)
Sonos is my preferred whole-home music system and the Play:1 both looks great and sounds great. At $150, it’s priced similar to many well regarded Bluetooth speakers but its WiFi connectivity is infinitely more practical (assuming you run a supported service, which you probably do). Apple’s sweetening the deal with three months of Apple Music.

 

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